The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

06 January 2010

The UPS and Downs of a Fruitful Life

By: David Michael Lopez

2009 was an exciting and fun-filled year for me at the Autism Resource Center. The ARC is located at Intan Street in Santa Fe Subdivision across Barangay Batong Malake in Los Baños, Laguna province.

My journey started at the Autism Resource Center or ARC on March 17, 2008. I attended a pre-membership seminar, which aimed to spread awareness of people regarding the principles of cooperatives.

After which, I did a series of activities with Michael Cansanay, another PWA. We took turns in typing documents dealing on different autism-related issues. The book took almost 3 months to finish. It centered on the social skills, common symptoms, and frequent intervention to children and adults who were diagnosed with autism since early childhood.

Later that year, I learned how to make Christmas Décor and spent the remaining 1-½ months in making beaded angels, bracelets and merchandise storage boxes. I also learned how to process different meat products. All were distributed to customers.

On June 1, 2009, I hosted the turn-over ceremonies of “A sustainable Work-Live-Play Program for Young Adults with Autism,” which was held on ARC. UPS or United Parcel Service gave ASP Laguna Chapter a US$40,000 grant for this program.

Under the “Work” program, I went through a skills training program at ARC, with Ms. Marivic Ramos and Ms. Riza Cansanay as my trainers and Ms. Cathy Lopez as my job coach. They gave me assignments in preparation for work from Mondays to Thursdays. My work ranged from typing of documents to sorting copies of books, receiving phone calls, and photocopying of documents, among others.

At the Center, I learned to obey my superiors. I concentrate on my work by following instructions, do step-by-step procedures and cooperate with my peers.

By mid-October, I went through apprenticeship programs on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I was given allowances at the end of the week for doing well in my work.

Under the “Live” program, I did household chores ranging from washing of dishes to cleaning of surroundings, sweeping of floors, and arranging of beddings. And I learned to become obedient at home by following my parents’ advices.

Instead of taking part in Friday activities, I attended gym classes at Ma Gym Fitness Center located near Agapita Center in Barangay Batong Malake, Los Baños in Laguna province. I first attended aerobics classes there back in the summer of 2001 during my high school days.

And under the “Play” program, Sir Paolo Aquino served as my personal trainer for four months. He gave me exercise activities and introduced to me equipments consisting of machines, weights, and dumbbells. I met friends such as Kuya Alex Bagalanon and Kuya Erick Mauleon during my regular meetings.

My experience as an apprentice at the ASP Laguna Chapter – Autism Resource Center does not end here. Sometimes, I have to work overtime to meet the deadlines and perform necessary working assignments.

But a little help goes a long way, as the saying goes. As I enter the New Year 2010, I will face more challenges and shoulder more responsibilities. I want to become successful in the world of work someday, become more independent and responsible, have more friends and lead a better life.


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